Since December 2015, 400 cases of raccoon rabies have been confirmed in Hamilton and surrounding areas, in raccoons and skunks, as well as two stray cats, one red fox and one llama. In the same time, 17 cases of fox rabies have been confirmed in Perth, Huron and Waterloo counties, including six bovines, 10 skunks and one red fox.
Veterinarians should always be the first point of contact for animal owners with concerns about their animals’ health, including potential rabies exposures.
The OMAFRA rabies website includes information about rabies response in Ontario. It has a section for owners and a more detailed section for veterinarians. OMAFRA also posts the latest surveillance maps from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as they are released.
Veterinarians need to remain vigilant for cases of domestic animal exposure to potentially rabid animals. Rabies vaccination for dogs and cats is a regulatory requirement in most health units in the province and should also be considered for livestock in high-risk areas. Vaccination requirements are being updated July 1, 2018 — for details, contact the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. If you suspect a domestic animal may have recently been exposed to a potentially rabid animal, it should be vaccinated (or revaccinated) as soon as possible if it isn’t possible to have the offending animal tested.
Who to call in cases of potential rabies exposure:
1. Human exposure to a potentially rabid animal → Local Public Health (PH) Unit
2. Domestic animal exposure to a potentially rabid animal, NO human exposure → Local veterinarian
If you have any questions or concerns, you can always visit or call us – we want to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Abbotsford Animal Hospital - Caring for Pets for People in York Region, Aurora, Newmarket, King City, Richmond Hill and the GTA.